Researchers at IIT Hyderabad, have developed an oral solution to treat Black Fungus (Mucormycosis) and are ready to transfer the technology for mass-production in huge relief patients affected from the fatal disease.
In 2019, researchers from IIT- Hyderabad's Creative and Advanced Research Based on Nanomaterials (CARBON) lab reported using gelatin nanofibers to manufacture Amphotericin B in a sustained-release tablet form. The drug has been a lifeline for thousands of patients suffering from black fungus and other fungal infections around the world.
Amphotericin-B is presently manufactured in the form of an injection by a few pharmaceutical companies, and its treatment for black fungus costs lakhs of rupees. A single vial of 50 mg costs nearly Rs 4,000 and a patient requires up to 60-100 vials for treatment.
On the other hand, a 60-mg tablet developed by IIT-H can be priced only at Rs 200. It is patient-friendly as its slow and sustained release in the body reduces nephrotoxicity (adverse impact of medicines and chemicals on the kidney.)
Prof Saptarshi Majumdar and Dr Chandra Shekhar Sharma from the Department of Chemical Engineering have made a proven study about oral nanofibrous AMB to be effective for black fungus (visceral leishmaniasis).
"With the two years of advancement of examination, the researchers are now confident that the technology can be transferred to suitable pharma partners for large-scale production. At present, the black fungus treatment is being used as a treatment for Black and other Fungus in the country and its availability and affordability make it need to allow emergency and immediate trial of this oral drug," IIT-H said.
The technology developed is made free from Intellectual Property rights so that it can be mass-produced and is affordable and available to the public at large, Dr Chandra Shekhar Sharma said. Manufacturing the drug in tablet form would also make it easier to ramp up production to meet the growing demand.
With Black Fungus cases in India on a rise, the Centre on Friday exempted the import duty on 'Amphotericin B' which is used in the treatment of the disease. After a GST Council meeting, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the Centre will deliberate on the tax structure of COVID-19 vaccine and medical supplies and a Group of Ministers will take a decision on the same by June 8.
Apart from an exemption of tax on Black fungus medicine, the exemption of the integrated goods and services tax (IGST) on free COVID-related essential items has been extended by the GST Council till August 31, 2021.